The evolution of trying before you buy
Use technology to drive conversion and close the ROI loop
The most important element of its evolution is to harness its power to better understand consumers and to close the loop of return on investment, an aspect still under construction, but one which has been enormously helped by the proliferation of beauty technologies.
Historically, samples have been a rather hit and miss affair. Companies like Odore hope to strategize and effectively streamline this process. “We don’t think of sampling as a game of volumes. It’s about doing it in a more lean and focused approach, and then you can see great results, ”Mehta explains. Through zero data collection, the company helps brands target customers more effectively while collecting useful data, further increasing the possibilities of efficiency in sample distribution, all integrated with various social media platforms and the customer’s website. Odore advocates for seamless integration of sampling into other marketing strategies to drive conversion, with impressive results such as a 15-fold increase in revenue or a 300% increase in online reviews. For customers who prefer in-store purchases, Odore advises to push this avenue through free consultations, or to integrate virtual consultations if they prefer to buy online.
Another option is Arcade Beauty’s use of the Abeo digital product sampling platform, which uses targeted social media ads as a means of sampling consumers. As part of their work with L’Oréal on their Infallible foundation, customers were offered free samples via social media, which were then sent to their homes, along with follow-up email campaigns, leading to 82% of users to express their intention to buy. The lack of traceable information on sampling practices has been a major contributor to the difficulty in measuring its effectiveness, making the data resulting from such campaigns not only useful for measuring success, but also for shaping results. future marketing ambitions.
Pandemic-induced measures such as store closures and reduced direct mail have meant brands can no longer rely on retailers to distribute their samples, but Berman believes this new independence puts the power back in the hands of store owners. brands. “Digital sampling, e-commerce and digital are really where the growth is going to be,” he says. “The smarter brands can get, the easier it will be to communicate with these customers. “
An indispensable tool at their disposal is to find their ideal target customers through data, looking at factors such as spending, skin type and purchase history in order to better recommend products. “What we’re really trying to focus on is identifying the top echelon of customers, because those top 10% are worth, on average, six times more than the other 90%. Feeding these customers is going to be really valuable, ”comments Mehta.
Data privacy can be a very sensitive topic, but signing up could result in better product recommendations. Traceable QR codes on single-use samples could be another way to track tracking, although given the gargantuan number of products being distributed, it would be a Herculean task to trace all of them.
Whether consumers opt for in-store testers or single-use samples, reducing the carbon footprint of these options while increasing consumer safety remains paramount. If brands can also take on the challenge of creating compelling versions of these that help convey a product story at the same time, ROI maps are in their favor.